Five problems new chess players face

by Bill Gordon
8/29/2018 – Practice makes perfect, but beginners often need a little extra guidance for their early chess development. BILL GORDON offers five things newcomers to the game should keep in mind to improve their play, avoid mistakes and stay focused at the chess board. To the seasoned amateur or tournament warrior, these tips will be nothing earthshattering, but why not share them with your newbie friends and family?

Typical mistakes by 1600-1900 players Typical mistakes by 1600-1900 players

Some mistakes repeat themselves often in amateur games. With themes such as "Miscalculating Forcing Lines", "Being Too Materialistic" and "King Safety" Nick Pert shows you how to avoid making typical mistakes.


Tips for starting out

If you're new to chess, you're likely to repeat the same rookie mistakes over again, but with a little bit of practice and proper education, you’ll learn to avoid them. Making mistakes and learning new strategies is an inseparable part of this complex game, so try not to get demotivated if things are not going well for you. It is crucial to keep playing on a daily basis and think about the game in your spare time. Learning about common mistakes will help you level up and become a better chess player. This text will provide you with the some of the most often repeated mistakes beginners make. So read on and learn how to avoid them!

1. Weak development

Most rookie players don't focus enough at the beginning of the game, and usually, play with one or two pieces. Neglecting development can cost you a game, and that's the reason why you should do it right.

Once you start a game, try really hard not to move the same piece twice (unless forced to). It is generally much better to quickly develop all minor pieces and castle before starting active play. A good opening will help you with your strategy, and the chances of winning the game will increase.


Openings A-Z with position search can help you find an opening to suit your taste!

2. Not having a plan

Fritz iconAnother very common mistake beginners make is that they play clueless chess. This ancient game requires undivided focus and flawless planning.

Of course, you can't know what your opponent will do, but having a good plan will bring you closer to victory. It is very important to pay close attention to the opponent's camp and see if there are any weaknesses. Once you see them, you should plan the series of moves that will get you there so you can attack. On the other hand, you should also work on your weakest pieces and make your best effort to improve their positions.

Fritz and Chesster - Learn to Play Chess

Learn to think strategically, try out tricky mental exercises and master fun and exciting challenges – all with a generous helping of chess knowledge.


3. Ignoring the enemy's plan

Having a good game plan is crucial for success in chess, but ignoring the opponent's plan will most certainly destroy your chances.

Fritz thinkingIf you're thinking just about goals, you can easily miss the opportunity to properly defend your camp. Every move your enemy makes mustn't be ignored; try to figure out his or her intentions.

Predicting your opponent's plans is hard, and you'll need to put in lots of playing hours before you master this aspect of the game. Better planning and anticipation will naturally appear in your game as you become more experienced.

4. Losing concentration

Fritz yawningAs suggested above, even a tiny variance in your concentration can cost you a game. If you're not fully focused and awake, you're likely to lose the game regardless of your flawless planning. Just one wrong move can turn the table, and you'll go from favourite to underdog.

In order to stay concentrated longer, you’ll need to work on both mental and physical endurance. A regular workout will make your body stronger and your mind sharper. In the end, play longer time control games and you'll see the progress in no time.


Staying focused and alert takes dedication, but it can also be fun!

5. Not learning from others

If your goal is to become good at something, you'll need to study a lot and stop ignoring authority. The same goes for chess. Make sure to learn from better players and listen to their advice. Talking with a great player or just analyzing their games will provide you with useful tips about chess, and your game will become better. Keep trying out new moves and different approaches to the same problem. Keep in mind that experience of others can level up your game, so keep your eyes and ears wide open.

Final thoughts

Fritz winkingChess is much more than this handful of tips and you should be aware of that. Keep learning and playing. The right combination of education, physical activity, strategy, and ambition will help you improve your game, so go ahead and start working on that on daily basis.

People say that practice makes perfect, and that goes for chess as well. You won't become a perfect chess player for sure, but you can keep trying and enjoying this magnificent game.

Typical mistakes by 1800-2000 players

On this DVD GM Nick Pert shows you typical mistakes by 1800-200 players. Themes as when to exchange pieces, how to convert an advantage, passive pieces, anticipating your opponents plan, openings and pawn structure are shown throughout the DVD.



Topics: tips

Bill is a freelance writer and board games enthusiast from Melbourne Australia, who likes writing articles that cover lifestyle and games related topics. He has written numerous articles and contributed to several other blogs. When he's not writing, he enjoys spending time with his wife and riding bikes on the coast.
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RivertonKnight RivertonKnight 8/31/2018 02:54
A good plan involves seeing tactics and avoiding hanging pieces. Thanks for the article!
KevinC KevinC 8/30/2018 07:00
First, I would like to add to #1: I tell beginners always ask yourself in the opening "what piece haven't I moved yet" rather than tell them "don't move pieces twice in the opening".

Regarding #2 and #3, sorry, I could not disagree more beyond the basic, "he is threatening to take my queen, so I better move it". At the very beginning stages of learning chess, and even through 1600 at least, the planning stuff is totally bogus advice. They barely know how the pieces move, let alone how to begin to plan in chess. I don't think I really started to think like that until I hit 1800 (an exception might be if you are a kid, and you have a coach pointing plans out to you).

A much better piece of advice is to start reading simple combination books, and when done, read more complex ones (and sometimes even re-read these same books). Try to do 50 problems per day (or at least 25), spending no more than two minutes per problem before looking at the solution. This will help pattern recognition, and overall visualization of the board, which is what they REALLY need. I took a 39-year-old friend (so not necessarily a sponge like a kid is), who was stuck at about 1100 on ICC blitz, and he did this faithfully for just three months, and was an 1850 on ICC.

I learned this technique, specifically that you want to almost immerse yourself, from my military Russian school and decided to apply it to chess. We were required to learn from more words in a week than a typical college student is given in a semester (300 from my college German courses, although you pick more here and there). For example, if I give you 20 words to learn, and you learn them all you get 100% but learned only 20 words (this is what were give on night #1 of school). By the end of the course, we were given about 300 every other night, or about 150 a night on average. If you even get 67% (not that that was allowed), you learned 100 words, or 5 times what you learned by only getting the smaller list. So that is the theory behind my methods. I became incredibly adept at memorizing large numbers of words via this technique.

Most beginner games are won and lost by nothing more than who can keep their pieces, and take the opponent's pieces. Over the years, I used to have even guys, who were up to 2100 miss A LOT of tactics in my games with them.

I have been a master since 1985, and peaked at 2298.
Keshava Keshava 8/30/2018 06:16
This is a really great article. One question however ...
re: "It is generally much better to quickly develop all minor pieces and castle before starting active play."
In most openings doesn't castling happen before the Queenside Bishop is developed?
Classique Classique 8/30/2018 03:09
This is nice, but I think the most important point should be stated more forcefully. How can a beginner have much of a plan? The point is not to hang pieces! Players hang pieces up to maybe 1400 FIDE.

After each opponent's move and before each move of your own, stop and check if the move in question places or leaves pieces in danger. A good way to start is to *look* along all the lines, diagonals, and knight-squares radiating out of the square moved from and out of the square moved to. If you do that on every move, you'll hang many fewer pieces.